Princess of Ukok, also known as the Siberian Ice Maiden is a 2,400 year old mummy. "She belonged to a tribe called the Pzyryks, close relatives of the Scythians, who lived around the Black Sea" (Womack, 1995). The Pazyryks tribe came from European descents, they were nomadic horseman and shepherds , that believed to have worshipped the Sun, Moon and the animals that are sacredly tattood on their bodies. The Ice Maiden now resides at the Republican National Museum in Gorno-Altaisk, Russia.
The Ice Maiden was mummified in balm and bandages, her organs was removed and her body had been stuffed with grass and wool, and placed in a wooden coffin The preservation of her skin and body came from the water that had trickled into her tomb helping freeze her into a block of ice and helping her preserve her white skin. Her hair had been shaven off her head and replaced with a wig that was draped with a tall wooden head- dress decorated with cats and swans. She was buried underneath a grave, and her burial chamber was built of larch logs. This kept her burial cite undisturbed from thieves and looters.
She was discovered by Natalia Polosmak and her team of archaeologists in the summer of 1993, "on the Ukok Plateau, near the border of China, which is now referred to the Autonomous Republic of Altai" (Siberian Ice Maiden, 2015). Inside her chamber they found a coffin containing a skeleton, wood, gold, bronze, coriander and cannabis. There were two small wooden tables, where they found horesmeat, mutton, and dairy products. She had heads of six horses surrounding her, which were all oriented towards the east including the Princess's. The food and the horses head was to serve her as guidance of her journey to the afterlife. The archeologists discovered her "dressed in a white woollen stockings, a woollen skirt with horizontal white and maroon strips and a yellow chinese silk blouse with maroon piping" ( Womack, 1995). This speculated that she may have been of the higher elite of her society as silk was rare among her tribe. After studying her tattoos it was indicated that she may have been a "shaman or a religious leader that was in touch with the spirit world" (Womack, 1995), as she had sacred animals tattooed on her body. Her skin was pale and white that was preserved through the freezing of water, to deforest her they poured hot water that had darkened her skin causing her tattoos to fade.
To find out when she was buried, a sample of the logs from her chamber and the contents from the horse's stomach was analyzed. This gave an indication that she was buried in the spring.
Her cause of death was unknown until about 2014 when researchers suggested it had been breast cancer. Researchers also discovered that she had injuries sustained in a fall, as likely culprits which may have also contributed to her passing.After continuous examinations, MRI scans determined that it may have been breast cancer that may have lead to the Ice Maiden's death, as there was no signs of injuries to the skull or bones. DNA testing showed that the Ice Maiden was of Caucasian descent instead of the native Mongoloids, which she was suspected to be. Additionally, her face was reconstructed using her skull by Tanya Balueva, who used her features and meauremensts and compared it to present-day Altai inhabitants to confirm that she was truly of Caucasian race and had no Mongolian features. Since her tattoos were damaged by the hot water, an archeologists by the name of Dr. Kozeltsev and his assistances have been working on restoring the Ice Maiden's body back to its original colour so the tattoos can be fully restored again.
External Links Edit
- Siberian Ice Maiden. (2015). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siberian_Ice_Maiden
- Womack, H. (1995). Siberian 'Lady' still youthful after 2,400 years. retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/siberian-lady-still-youthful-after-2400-years-1572004.html
- Siberian Times Reporter. (2012). Siberian Princess reveals her 25, 000 year old tattoos. Retrieved from http://siberiantimes.com/culture/others/features/siberian-princess-reveals-her-2500-year-old-tattoos
- Mosbergen, D. (2014). Now we know what killed the Ancient 'Ice Princess', and why she had that marijuana. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/16/siberian-ice-princess-cancer-cannabis_n_5993052.html